Petition Fisheries

End fishy labelling in Australia

Australians love seafood, but our seafood labelling is outdated and unfit for purpose.

Australians can’t be sure what seafood they’re eating, where it came from or how it was caught. Changes need to be made to seafood labelling so that Aussie consumers get the information they want and deserve. 

Research has shown that at least 1 in 10 seafood products in Australia are mislabelled, even with vague names like “white fish” or “flake”. Mislabelling of seafood products is a significant concern in Australia. In some products like shark meat, over 80% of samples were found to be mislabelled. It is extremely difficult to identify a fish when filleted or processed, so consumers cannot determine whether their freshly caught snapper is actually flathead.

The EU covers around a quarter of the world’s seafood market and requires labels to show the species, its origin, and how it was caught or farmed. There’s no excuse for Australian rules to be decades behind.


Australian labels must be specific and accurate. For Australians to feel confident in their purchasing decisions, all seafood products sold in retailers (e.g. supermarkets, fishmongers, and fish counters) in Australia must include:

  1. A common name as dictated by the Australian Fish Names Standard, ideally accompanied by an accurate scientific name.
  2. Point of Capture. If harvested in Australia, it must display the state or territory. If harvested in another country’s or international waters, it must display that country’s name or the FAO Major Fishing Area Code. Farmed products should display either the country they were originally farmed in or, if Australian, the state or territory.
  3. Whether the product was wild-caught or farmed, and the gear type used in fishing as described in the FAO Standard Gear Types. Farmed products may voluntarily display the farm type.
  4. Exporting country or country where a majority of processing occurred (if relevant).


Seafood sold through hospitality must also be updated to include:

  1. A common name as dictated by the Australian Fish Names Standard
  2. Whether it is Australian (A), Imported (I), or Mixed (M), and if Australian;
  3. The state or territory of the original harvest.


Minister Jones and Minister Husic, we urge you to urgently update our seafood labelling laws. Last year you worked on updating legislation for country of origin in hospitality, but the job’s not done. Better labels would mean that Aussies could confidently choose sustainable, ethically sourced, delicious seafood – and know they’re getting what they pay for.

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